TAMUG marine biology professor receives Texas A&M University Distinguished Professor Award.

Galveston, Texas (March 4, 2013) —Dr. Bernd G. Würsig is among six Texas A&M Faculty members who have been appointed the title University Distinguished Professors, effective Sept. 1, 2013. The title is among the highest honors awarded to Texas A&M faculty members.  

The 2013 university distinguished professor honorees join a select group of 66 current faculty members who have held the prestigious title since 2011. This designation denotes a faculty member who is pre-eminent in his or her field of study. The title ensures that the professor has provided at least one original contribution to the field and has work that is central in any narrative about their discipline. The professor must also be widely recognized to have changed the direction of scholarship in their field of study.  

Texas A&M Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Karan Watson announced their selection and explained the significance of the designation.  

“University Distinguished Professors represent the highest level of achievement for our faculty,” Watson emphasized. “They are recognized as pre-eminent authorities in their fields and their accomplishments are exemplified by outstanding teaching, mentoring, discovery and service. They demonstrate to the world the high quality of scholarship underway at Texas A&M University.”

TAMUG President Admiral Robert Smith III commended Würsig on receiving the award. 

“This is the first Distinguished Professor to be named at Texas A&M University at Galveston and is a recognition that we have the finest minds in the country serving our state through their research and teaching at this institution,” he said. “Dr. Würsig exemplifies the accomplishments of our faculty in teaching and research. His achievements give him worldwide recognition as the preeminent authority on the behaviors of dolphins, porpoises and whales.”

Würsig expressed his sentiments about receiving the award.

“I am deeply humbled by this award, and thank Texas A&M students, support personnel, colleagues, and administrators for providing an excellently nurturing environment for teaching, learning, and research.  I am pleased and proud to be a part of this fine institution of higher learning.”  

A Marine Biology Regents Professor, Würsig is also holder of the George P. Mitchell ’40 Chair in Sustainable Fisheries at Texas A&M University at Galveston and professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1989 and earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from The Ohio State University and a doctoral degree in behavioral biology and ecology from Stony Brook University, New York. He received postdoctoral training at the Center for Marine Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. 

Würsig helped develop and champion three major research techniques now used worldwide: analog and digital theodolite optical instruments to track marine mammals, photographic recognition of natural marks on animals, and an underwater bubble curtain system to reduce underwater noises (such as from stationary percussive pile driving) near marine mammal habitats. He emphasizes that others provided the seeds of discovery for these techniques, and he helped them grow and become successful.  

He has published 157 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, seven books and advised on 14 movies.  He has served as president of the international Society for Marine Mammalogy and received an Academy Award Nomination as lead science advisor for an IMAX documentary on dolphins.  

Würsig is presently the only University Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M Galveston. Others receiving the 2013 University Distinguished Professor award include Dr. Edward R. Dougherty, professor,  Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering; Dr. Dimitris C. Lagoudas, professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering; Dr. Vijay P. Singh, professor,  Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Dwight Look College of Engineering; Dr. Nicholas B. Suntzeff, professor of physics and astronomy, College of Science and Dr. Ian Tizard, professor of veterinary pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. 

TAMUG Media Contact: Cathy Cashio-Bertrand at (409) 740-4830.

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